Great Runes are an important part of Elden Ring from both a lore and a gameplay perspective. As you work your way through the Lands Between, you will need to defeat a minimum of two Shardbearer bosses and obtain their Great Runes in order to progress to the game’s end. Additionally, players can equip a Great Rune in order to gain some significant bonuses while active. A Great Rune won’t give player’s these benefits unless they first use a Rune Arc.
The effects of a Great Rune only last until a player dies. After this, they will have to reactivate the Great Rune with another Rune Arc. With how advantageous some of these effects can be, you’ll want to know which Great Rune is right for you. That’s why we’re breaking down the best Great Runes in Elden Ring, looking at how to obtain them, and what benefits they can offer.
Best Great Runes in Elden Ring, Ranked from Modest to Must-Have
Let’s jump right into our list of the best Great Runes in Elden Ring, ranked.
Morgott’s Great Rune
The Great Rune held by Morgott the Omen King may not be the best all-around Great Rune, but it can be beneficial for certain play styles.
How to Obtain It
As its name suggests, this is the Great Rune held by Morgott the Omen King, the boss of Leyndell, Royal Capital. Ironically, players will need to have already gathered two Great Runes before Leyndell, Royal Capital can even be accessed. Once there, however, players will need to take down Morgott the Omen King in order to progress the game. He is located at the Elden Throne, past the Queen’s Bedchamber site of grace. After Defeating Morgott, he will drop his Great Rune.
However, you won’t be able to use it quite yet. A Great Rune must first be restored to power by visiting its respective Divine Tower located somewhere within the Lands Between. Thankfully, the Divine Tower where Morgott’s Great Rune can be restored is fairly close to where you fight Morgott. After defeating the boss, head through the eastern gate of Leyndell, Royal Capital towards the Forbidden Lands. Just past the elevator in the Captial Outskirts, head south to reach the Diving Tower of East Altus. Climb to the top of the tower and interact with the fingers to activate the Great Rune.
Benefits of Morgott’s Great Rune
Once activated at the Divine Tower, players must use a Rune Arc to gain the benefits of the Great Rune, which greatly raises the player’s maximum HP. While there are better Great Runes for raising HP, none will grant as much of an increase as Morgott’s Great Rune. Due to the better Great Runes available earlier in the game, this one may not be ideal for most players. However, it can come in handy for players who need just a little bit more HP to take hits from a tough boss or who find the stat increases from other Great Runes aren’t as necessary as the large amount of HP granted by Morgott’s Great Rune.
Radahn’s Great Rune
Unlike Morgott’s Great Rune, Radahn’s Great Rune is a great all-purpose choice that players of all playstyles can take advantage of.
How to Obtain It
While this is a solid enough Great Rune, it’s lower on the list due to its difficulty to obtain. The Shardbearer boss who holds it is Starscourge Radahn. He is infamous as one of the toughest bosses in the game and a challenge for even the most skilled players. Access to Radahn is located at Redmane Castle in the southern portion of Caelid. The fight against this boss takes place in a separate arena of wide-open desert and features the ability to summon friendly NPCs to help in battle. Taking down this behemoth of a boss will earn you his Great Rune.
Once you’ve gained the Great Rune, you’re not in the clear yet. Reaching the Divine Tower to activate the Great Rune can be almost as challenging as defeating Radahn himself. You’ll need to reach the top of the Divine Tower of Caelid in order to restore this Great Rune. However, it can’t be reached by conventional methods and requires some tricky platforming along the outside of it. At the top, interact with the fingers to restore power to Radahn’s Great Rune.
Benefits of Radahn’s Great Rune
This Great Rune is a great all-round choice for your equipped Great Rune, as it raises maximum HP, FP, and Stamina when activated with a Rune Arc. While it doesn’t grant as much of a boost to HP as Morgott’s Great Rune, this more balanced spread has its benefits. It is particularly useful for players who require a lot of FP for spells and skills. This option is more favorable than Morgott’s Great Rune in most situations. Although, the challenge to acquire it may not be worth it for some players.
Malenia’s Great Rune
This is another Great Rune that can be extremely useful, but the challenge to obtain it once again makes it less than ideal compared to others.
How to Obtain It
Much like acquiring Radahn’s Great Rune, player’s will have to face another of the game’s toughest bosses to obtain this one. Malenia can be found at the base of the Haligtree, near the Haligtree Roots site of grace. Traversing this massive tree can be challenging enough on its own. However, it doesn’t compare to the boss fight waiting at the end. Maleina has earned the reputation as one of, if not the hardest boss in the game due to her aggressive attack patterns, two-phase battle, and ability to heal herself with each hit on the player.
Taking down Malenia is just the beginning, though. You’ll have to reach the top of the Isolated Divine Tower in order to restore power to her Great Rune. Reaching this Divine Tower is different from others in the game, as it is not accessible except by waygate located on the Divine Bridge in Leyndell, Royal Capital. The Tower of Return in the Weeping Peninsula can also warp players to this location in Leyndell, Royal Capital.
Benefits of Malenia’s Great Rune
Malenia’s Great Rune essentially gives players her power to heal themselves by attacking. Once activated with a Rune Arc, this Great Rune allows players to recover some HP with hits on foes after taking damage themselves. This is an extremely useful ability to have, as it can prolong your survivability in tough fights as long as you can get hits on your enemy. While Malenia’s Great Rune doesn’t provide stat boosts like the others listed above, this ability alone makes it worth using over other options.
Godrick’s Great Rune
One of the best Great Runes in the game is likely the first one many players will acquire and can carry them through the entire game.
How to Obtain It
Apart from being a universally beneficial Great Rune, Godrick is likely the first Shardbearer players will come across in their Elden Ring travels. Godrick the Grafted is the boss of Stormveil Castle, located on the northern portion of Limgrave. Defeating Godrick can be somewhat challenging for low-leveled players. However, doing so sets the pace for the rest of the game, so it is highly recommended. Additionally, claiming his Great Rune is worth the effort, as it can help make the rest of the game immensely more manageable.
Once you’ve defeated Godrick and claimed his Great Rune, you’ll need to head to the Divine Tower of Limgrave to restore its power. This tower is located just to the east of Stormveil Castle. It can be accessed from within the Castle by starting from the Limgrave Tower Bridge site of grace. The path to the tower can be perilous if you’re not prepared, as Colossal Statues and Warhawks guard the way. It’s possible to just run past these enemies and into the safety of the tower if you are brave enough. Once inside, climb the Divine Tower of Limgrave to reach the fingers, who will restore power to Godrick’s Great Rune.
Benefits of Godrick’s Great Rune
What makes Godrick’s Great Rune such an all-round great option is the +5 point increase it grants to all attributes while active. This is great not only because it can boost HP, FP, and Stamina, but it can help with damage scaling for whatever weapon you are using. Grabbing this Great Rune and heading to the Divine Tower of Limgrave as soon as possible is the ideal strategy. This is because the bonus it grants to all attributes can make a huge difference in later-game battles. Just make sure to find a few Rune Arcs as well to ensure you can keep the effects of this Great Rune active.
Great Rune of the Unborn
Finally, our top pick for the best Great Runes in Elden Ring is the Great Rune of the Unborn. While it doesn’t provide any specific stat boosts or ability, it’s essential for all Elden Ring players to obtain.
How to Obtain It
This Great Rune is acquired after defeating Rennala Queen of the Full Moon, the Shardbearer boss found at the end of Raya Lucaria Academy in Liurnia of the Lakes. Rennala is likely the second major boss players will face after Godrick the Grafted. This means this Great Rune can be obtained fairly early in the game as well. Rennala herself is not that difficult of a boss, but the Juvenile Scholars that surround her can be a headache. In the second phase, Rennela will attack players herself, but is overall still an easier fight than other Great Rune-bearing bosses.
One great feature of the Great Rune of the Unborn is that it does not need to be restored at a Divine Tower, nor equipped. This means players can still reap the benefits of this Great Rune while still having another one equipped. As such, there is no reason to skip grabbing this Great Rune.
Benefits of the Great Rune of the Unborn
The Great Rune of the Unborn doesn’t provide any combat benefits, but is extremely useful because it grants players the ability to respec their character. The ability to change attribute point distribution is crucial to optimizing gameplay strategies. This ability makes the Great Rune of the Unborn a must-have Great Rune. Once obtained, players need only to return to Rennala at the Raya Lucaria Grand Library with a Larval Tear and they will be able to be reborn with a different stat distribution.
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